[Met Performance] CID:183440

Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, December 8, 1959

Faust (560)
Charles Gounod | Jules Barbier/Michel Carré
Jussi Björling

Elisabeth Söderström

Cesare Siepi

Robert Merrill

Mildred Miller

Thelma Votipka

Roald Reitan

Audrey Keane

Jean Morel

Peter Brook

Rolf Gérard

Zachary Solov

Stage Director
Nathaniel Merrill

Faust received eleven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Ronald Eyer in Musical America
“Faust" returned to the repertoire, after an absence of one season, in the stylized Victorian production the tone of which is set by a Mephistopheles in top hat and tails. The production is not tasteless so much as it is flavorless with the suppression of its essential medieval setting and atmosphere. Even Gounod's music sounds pallid in this context.

Fortunately the performance had good musical direction front Jean Morel who has an elegant touch in French music, and, in spots, some very good singing. Jussi Bjoerling returned in the title role and reaffirmed his eminence as one of the most musicianly tenors to be heard today. The voice is clean, liquid and true, with a wonderfully sustained, yet flexible, legato, and the style reveals the utmost of sensitivity and refinement.

Cesare Siepi sang Mephistopheles with a solid grasp of its musical content but his characterization would be the better for a few more touches of that sardonic humor which make His Satanic Majesty, in this Gounod version, an irresistible rascal.

Singing her first Marguerite with the company, Elisabeth Soederstroem was enchanting to look at, and her voice, though rather dark-hued, turned brilliant and soaring in such crucial matters as the "Jewel Song". Some of the best work of the evening vas done by Robert Merrill as Valenin, and his "Avant de quitter celieux" brought him a well-deserved ovation.

A veteran Marthe, Thelma Votipka again delighted the audience with her engaging fuss-budget and both Mildred Miller, as Siébel, and Roaid Reitan, as Wagner, made uncommonly vivid portrayals of these lesser roles.

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